Stock car racing: Fonda ready to ‘Go Green’

Weather permitting, Fonda Speedway will open its gates for the 2008 season Saturday with the running

Weather permitting, Fonda Speedway will open its gates for the 2008 season Saturday with the running of the 40-lap, $4,000-to-win “Ice Jam” for modifieds.

Also on the racing card will be a $750-to-win open sportsman race. Starting time for the 57th year of competition at the historic half-mile speedway known as the “Track of Champions” is 4 p.m.

This season will be Ric Lucia’s 12th year as promoter at Fonda, and he talked the upcoming season at the annual Fonda Speedway car show.

“This is an exciting time for me,” Lucia said. “I purposely held up this year’s schedule until I got the

series together [the Go Green NMX

Fonda Thunder Series for mod­ifieds], and although there are some sort of risks involved, we are going to see if we can make it work.”

“The beauty of it all is that I love the sport of racing, I am passionate about the sport, and I am fortunate that my wife and my family have allowed me to do this for so long. I don’t know if I have all of the answers or not, but we are trying very hard to make things better for both racers and fans at Fonda Speedway.”

The first of five Go Green NMX Fonda Thunder Series races will take place on Saturday, May 24 at 6 p.m., with a 40-lap, $4,000-to-win feature. The other four events will take place on Saturday, June 21

(40 laps, $4,000 to win); Saturday, July 26 (50 laps, $5,000 to win); Tuesday, Aug. 5 (60 laps, $6,000 to win); and Sunday, Sept. 21 (100 laps, $9,500 to win).

If one driver wins all five events, he will earn a total of $28,500.

“The consensus through New York state is that the competitors who follow and chase the tours won’t be able to do so, with the costs going up the way that they are this year,” Lucia said. “Our costs are going up, as well, at the track, so this home-track series seemed like a good idea.”

There will be a separate set of points kept for the series, with a base number of points given to the Fonda Speedway regulars who compete in all five of the

series races.

“We don’t want our regulars to get zero points if they have a problem and can’t race in the feature. With a base number of points given, it will keep our regulars in the hunt for the point championship in the series,” Lucia said.

“Right now, we are committed to a point championship payout for the series of $4,000 for first, $3,000 for second and $1,500 for third, but we will try to build on the point fund as other sponsors commit to the series to make the point fund as attractive as possible.”

For the series races, drivers will draw for starting positions in the heat races and will be handicapped for the features, with an inversion also taking place. The rules will be the same ones that Fonda uses all season long, including the Amer­ican Racer track tire.

“We are going to try and keep it fair for both our regulars and the outsiders,” Lucia said. “For years, people have talked about the purses not going up, but we came to bat this year with this series, and if the drivers and owners that are complaining about money and purses all of the time don’t support this series, they should pull up a chair, sit in it and quit complaining about it.”

Admission prices at the front gate for the series events in May, June, and July will be $12.

NMX Chemicals, the series sponsor, is an environmentally friendly company that makes non-pet­roleum based products which are biodegradable. Secondary sponsors still being sought to increase the amount in the point fund for the series.

“I met the people from NMX Chemicals through conversation about business in general and common interests that we both have,” Lucia said. “Interest in the series has already been expressed by Brett Hearn, Pat Ward, Mitch Gibbs and others, and I am very happy to be involved with NMX Chemicals to put on this series.”

Fonda Speedway officials are updating the track’s rule book, which will be available very soon.

“We have been criticized in the last few years of not having a rule book, so we are putting one together with amendments for all divisions included in it,” Lucia said.

OTHER SPECIAL EVENTS

Other special events for the season at Fonda include the 360 Sprint Open on Saturday, April 26; the ESS Sprint Tour on Saturday, May 31; BBL Night on Saturday, July 26, including a flyover by the U.S. Air Force; and the Night of Features, when the point champions will be decided in all divisions, on Saturday, Aug. 16.

The sportsman division will have three open races featuring increased purses, and the budget sportsman have of six races on the schedule. General admission at the front gate for regular shows will be $10, as it has been for many years.

AROUND THE TRACKS

Albany-Saratoga Speedway is scheduled to run a practice session today, with gates opening at

4 p.m., weather permitting. At

6 p.m. the driving clinic cars will take to the track for practice, with the first round of open practice at 8 p.m.

In the event the practice is canceled due to weather, it will be moved to Saturday or Sunday, with the gates opening at 2 p.m. If the entire weekend is lost due to weather, practice will be held on April 18, and the first race night of the season will be pushed back one week, to April 25.

Lebanon Valley has a practice session scheduled for Saturday night,. In the event of rain, the session will be held on Tuesday.

The Valley is scheduled to kick off its 56th season of racing on

April 18, with the modifieds running a $3,000-to-win feature.

GLEN RIDGE OPENS

The New Glen Ridge Motor­sports Park opened its season last Sunday, with Mike Ricci getting his first career modified victory at the Ridge over Floyd Billington, JaMike Sowle, Matt Sheppard and defending track champion Craig Hanson.

Frank Christiano of New Jersey was the winner of the budget sportsman feature event over Brian Jones, Angela Hoard, John Constantino and Chris McCoy.

Dave Bayes was the street stock feature winner, and Kerry Hollenbeck won the cruiser feature.

Glen Ridge will hold a regular show in all divisions Sunday. Racing will begin at 1 p.m.

Categories: Sports

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